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tv   European Journal  KCSMMHZ  March 17, 2012 4:30am-5:00am PDT

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>> hello and welcome to european journal, the weekly magazine from brussels where he have stories from all across europe for you. here is what is coming up today. border targets, why kurdish smugglers keep risking their lives. enough is enough, how the irish are fighting back. and damaging relations on a dutch website is stirring up hatred. when it comes to iran, europe speaks with one voice. but turkey is somewhat divided.
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once good relations with their neighbor because it is dependant on iranian oil, but turkey needs to make sure that it does not annoy their western partners who are suspicious of the iranian regime and think they are trying to build a nuclear bomb. the turkish authorities turn a blind eye to what is going on where iranian authorities show no mercy with kurdish smugglers. >> almost all of the graves near the turkish-iranian border are of young men under the age of 25, smugglers killed by iranian border guards. one of them just 16 years old. he was killed a year ago. his friend was with him at the time. >> we were just a few meters from the turkish borders when iranian soldiers fired on us
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without warning. we were running away. my friend was hit in the head and fell down. we were afraid to go back to him. we waited at a distance and called out his name. then the iranian soldiers called out we killed your friend. you can pick him up and take him back to turkey. >> the iranian border is a few hundred meters away from their village. winters here are long and hard, and there are no jobs. smuggling across the iranian border is the only way these families can earn a living. in the evenings yusof and his uncle settle their horses to ride across. they are smuggling cheap diesel in canisters back to turkey.
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>> i really don't like to do this. i am afraid. but what should i do? i have to think of my children. how else i can feed them? >> the border between iran and turkey stretches for 500 kilometers, mostly through rugged, sparsely populated territory. it is hard to keep under surveill andens that makes smuggling relatively easy. the mayor of the district capitol says that 40 people have been killed in the last year and a half in his area alone. >> authorities do nothing more than perform an oop on the body. complaints and charges from relatives or human rights activists are ignored.
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of course these border crossings are illegal. but the region is impoverished and the politicians do not treat it equally. there is no other way to earn a living here, why should the people regard smuggling as wrong? >> iranian border guards turned their most recent victim over to the turkish authorities in midjanuary. the turkish government says nothing about the dead smugglers to avoid tarnishing their relationship with iran. the european union expects turk tow alter their policies towards iran and improve the situation of the kurdish population in the region. turkish security forces limit their search for smugglers to the roads approaching the border. they are on the lookout for trucks smuggling cheap cigarettes out of iran.
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dinner in the village. they fortify themselves for the dangerous ride across the boarder. this 17-year-old is already a father. he would rather work in a factory but as a kurd he would have trouble finding a job in the affluent west. the women are afraid their husbands might not return. >> of course i do not want them going over there. but we have no choice. when they are out at night i lie awake and wonder whether or not they will come back alive. the price the village pays is high. 11 dead, 40 injured and 50 dead horses so far. but when dusk falls they ready their horses again. new diesel is said to have arrived in an iranian village on the other side of the border. >> if i bring two full canisters back i earned the equivalent of
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20 euros. we risk our lives for that. >> it is minus 10 degrees as they head out. the rail trip takes an hour if they can evade the iranian patrols. >> the debt crisis is testing the europeans. but they are determined to learn lessons from the crisis and just signed a pact which commits most of them to strict budge terry discipline. the irish government has to consult their citizens first and an upcoming referendum is bound to cause a stir. in the future they will only bail out countries that sign the treaty. and ireland received and needed financial help before. the irish know what is at stake. they also know what it is like to have to tighten their belts. >> i thought you would like it because his stung stuck out. >> a postcard from his sister,
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she immigrated to new zealand because she could not find work as a nurse in ireland. she is missed by her family, including her mother, kathleen. >> she is gone four years now. we never have once said come home. we can't. come home to what? >> they are having trouble paying their mortgage. kathleen's husband is working only three days a week because of the crisis. if the bank repossesses the house, it will be ironic. the same bank was bailed out using taxpayer's money. >> it was put on the table and we said that is taking off the table or we are walking out. the minister should have said let the euro collapse because we are not paying them >> they stooned lose their home while the bank consist prompt on being rescued. that led the family to join a
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nearby protest. after sunday mass the residents take to the streets. many people are angry about the country's situation. the protesters have a clear message. the government should stop rescuing banks and use their power to protect ordinary people instead. >> what is the point? >> people of all ages are taking part. the protesters manage to block the road for 10 minutes. there are not many of them, but they are very determined. >> we the people are paying.
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>> demonstrations are rare in ireland, despite the widespread frustration. it is more common for people to suffer in silence. the country's suicide rate has skyrocketed. the bodies of victims have been found in the river. this social worker lost two brothers, both of whom committed suicide. >> 10 years ago, did you know somebody that died by cancer. no you know. now every second person today knows somebody that dies by suicide. it is the new aids of the new millennium. >> pat has joined the local branch of the occupy movement. the group is occupying this empty office building. they are busy turning it into an advice and community center. many locals welcome the idea.
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the protesters here are squating here illegally. the developer has gone bankrupt. the building belongs to the bank, which the taxpayers bailed out. >> we have done it peacefully and no forced entry. it is a slight bending of the rules compared to what has been broken up at the top. >> the protesters enjoy wide support among local residents. but the law is unwilling to play ball. technically they are disturbing the peace. a judge ordered their eviction. the real estate crash left many buildings empty, resulting in numerous ghost towns. this photographer has documented the phenomenon. almost 500 homes and offices were abandoned before construction was even finished. >> when you walk into the areas,
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one of the biggest threats, a dog barking, marking its presence. it doesn't seem to happen. they are really like dead zones. >> the photos are a sober testimony to ireland's economic difficulties. anthony hopes they will get people talking about the situation. >> this is, for me, an iconic image that will stay in ireland for years to come. as an artist, i want to contribute to that and start a critical conversation. >> speculators and bankers have driven ireland to ruin. the country is massively in debt. ordinary people are not responsible for the problem and shouldn't have to solve it. >> they have brought our country to its knees to pay off and look
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good to their european counterparts. we have had enough. >> the demonstrations here have been going on for a year, and numbers are growing. this won't be the last time that they take to the streets. >> finally e.u. leaders are talking about how to generate growth again. but what an embarrassment for the netherlands that it, of all countries, is dealing with very worrying figures indeed. the prime minister will have to introduce new measures. but he needs the approval of right wingers. the prime minister simply won't interfere, not even when a website is launched designed to criticize eastern europeans. >> it happened one evening the week before. she was making coffee when she noticed three shadowy figures
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lurking outside her window. >> one of them called, hey lady. then called me a whore in polish. then he threw a stick through my window. my husband ran outside, but they were already gone. >> they live on the outside of hague in a district with many immigrants. since the attack she no longer feels safe here. they came to the netherlands six years ago. she worked for a flower wholesaler. she earns the minimum wage. he is a forklifter operator on temporary contract with no benefits. >> why can't we get a steady job here? we have to go through a temporary agency. and if we ask for a regular employment contract he is fired. they are satisfied with our work. why do they do that? it is ridiculous.
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>> this woman runs a website for the polish community. she has heard threats and slashing of tires and other acts of harrassment against the polish community. >> he is a true pop you lift. he puts his finger on something that's long been taboo. he is playing on these taboos and that is met with an emotional response. labor migration is one of the taboos. the scale of that migration has been a controversial issue here for quite a while already.
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>> forget that this simmering controversy is an opportunity. he recently launched a website calling on citizens to report what they perceive as harrassment from eastern europeans. the website ignited a storm of outrage, but he is brushing off his critics. >> we are a political party. we are not part of the government. we can do what we like. this website, once again, so many, tens of thousands reactions in a couple of day. that is an enormous success. a lot of people are very positive about it. you won't believe it if you look at all of the criticism. but there is also a lot of support for this website. >> an estimated 200,000 have come to the netherland since the dutch labor market was opened to eastern european states. many work in agriculture and construction. they are mostly working in jobs that native born dutch have scorned. but the campaign against eastern
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europeans are receiving a mixed response. >> the website is disrespectful. they are targeting an entire group of people, and that is not right. >> i don't understand how people could write these things on the website. it is ridiculous. >> not all eastern europeans are like this. there are differences. we have seen who has become a burden and who hasn't. so yes, i think he is right. >> we don't talk about it. we don't agree amongst ourselves. >> isabella has lived in the netherland for years holding a job and attending university. it has become harder here since the economic downturn. she is a its is harder because she is polish. >> the dutch used to be open to
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new people and to migrants. now i hear we don't want them. they are nothing but trouble. and they should go. >> but an increasing number of voices are condemning the trend. they say right wing campaigns are harming the country's reputation. the mayor has written a letter of protest. >> we are one europe. we have to stand by one and other. when there is a problem, we need to speak out. these are isolated cases. the idea that an entire grouch people are the problem is quite simply not true. >> the mayor worries that it will harm his city. it is still them polish soldiers who liberated the city from german occupation.
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this former soldier is outraged by the campaign of discrimination. >> it is like they are stigmatizing the polish as a group. this is exactly how it started in the 1930's. one group of people became a target and they were called all sorts of hateful things. for us they were just stripped of their good reputation, and then it got much, much worse. >> this family came to the netherland in hope of a new future to, enable their son to get a good education. now they wonder if they should have stayed in poland. >> one year ago a destructive
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tsunami hit japan and the nuclear reactors there. this catastrophe revived the debate about nuclear power worldwide. in japan some took to the streets. the germans decided to phase out the technology all together. but some countries are still in favor of nuclear power. lithuania had to take their nuclear power station off the grid under pressure from the e.u. it supplies them with cheap electricity say the lithuanians who simply do not understand why they have to let go of their power plant in the first plates. -- place. >> this spot is to be a green meadow again in 20 years. the nuclear power plant was the soviet unions most productive.
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andre has worked here since 2004, the year which it was insisted the first of two reactors was going to be shut down. >> the responsibility was a burden. every day i had to watch over the decision-maker, the people who had their finger on the button. at first it was terrible for me. but as time passed, it became a normal work routine. >> 5,000 people used to work in the power plant. today 2,000 are left. they keep the safety systems running or are part of the dismantling team like andre. the fuel rods are still in the reactor because the storage facility is not finished yet. this delay costs hundreds of thousands of euros each month. the power plant operators blame
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the company behind the storage facility. it was once a german firm but is now part of russia's national nuclear power industry. critics say it did not prepare well for this task. the interim storage facility was supposed to be completed three years ago. but when the date came around they did not even have a building permit. he says the main reason is the unusual technical complexity of their reactor. plans are now underway to complete the work by the end of the year. >> many problems emerge only when you work on the details. sometimes you have to take a step back or start over with a new idea to solve a problem properly and safely. >> it is now estimated that dismantling the plant will cost almost 3 billion euros, with most of it coming from the e.u. they are threatening to cut off
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the money if the project does not move forward. the plants' marg manager -- managers say should that happen, they might put the plant back in operation. many of the workers never understood why it was to be shut down. this russian, like most of the employees here, has worked in the lithuanian power plant for over 30 years. >> it operated for so long with no problems. now we have to shut down the power plant. stins is a nuclear power plant we have to do everything possible to do it safely. it is very hard to help carry out this decision. >> closing the plant was a precondition for lithuania's acceptance to the e.u. the two reactors are the same type as in chernobyl.
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upgrading the plant would not eliminate many of the risk factors. lithuania's sole nuclear power plant used to supply 80% of the country's electricity. now lithuania depends on imports from russia and pays more than the usual market price. electricity prices have risen by a third. in the middle 1970's this city was built to house the plants' employees. 80% of its residents are russians because lithuania does not train nuclear specialists. this woman used to run a travel agency, but she had to close it. the two live comfortable leon the money they earn each month. how how long will they continue to earn this well? if he loses his job, he will
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have no other options in the region. >> i was fascinated by nuclear physics. back then it was considered progress. i still believe there is no alternative to nuclear energy. >> andre recently bought this 5,500 square meter apartment. he believes he has a future here. but just to be sure he applied for a lithuanian passport and is taking night courses to become a banker. >> i hope our government will build a new nuclear plant here. if not i will go to another e.u. country. >> a japanese-american consortium is to build a new plant right next to the old one. but the financing has not been
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settled yet and russia might throw a wrench into the plans. russia is building a new nuclear power plant just across the boarder from lithuania. when it is done russia plans to supply the entire region with electricity. the plant is slated to go online in 2016, four years before the lithuanian plant. if that happens the lithuanian plant will be unprofitible. will the lake once again be used for swimming one day? that is one of many unanswered questions. also a permanent storage site for the waste must still be found. >> and that report wraps up this edition of "european journal." thanks very much for watching. until next week, bye for now.
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